Who will replace Ethiopian Church’s anti-gay patriarch?

Activists in Ethiopia are hoping the country will become less hostile to LGBTI people after a replacement is chosen for Abune Paulos, the homophobic patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church who died last week at age 76.

Abune Paulos, patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (Photo courtesy of Antiochan.org)

Abune Paulos, patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church (Photo courtesy of Antiochan.org)

LGBTI advocates know, however, that an equally anti-gay religious leader might be installed in his place.

Abune Paulos, who once termed homosexuality “the pinnacle of immorality,” joined with the anti-gay advocacy group United for Life Ethiopia a few years ago, seeking a constitutional amendment against homosexuality.

Under Ethiopian law, homosexual activities can be punished with prison sentences of one to 10 years, and up to 15 years for “aggravated” same-sex practices.

Abune Paulos and United for Life Ethiopia led a campaign that urged the government to impose stricter sentences, up to life imprisonment and the death penalty.

He was president of the World Council of Churches and served as an honorary president of Religions for Peace, the world’s largest multi-religious coalition advancing common action among the world’s religious communities for peace.

Some members of Ethiopia’s LGBT community believe that the death of Abune Paulos will weaken the anti-homosexuality movement, especially if the next patriarch is a relatively open bishop about homosexuality,  at least willing to discuss on how to address the HIV vulnerability of LGBTs in Ethiopia.

But some believe that the next patriarch will be Abune Samuel, an extremely homophobic bishop who wrote a book in 2009 decrying the evils of homosexuality.

Along the same lines, Abune Paulos told reporters in 2008, referring to homosexuality, “For people to act in this manner, they have to be dumb, stupid like animals.”

“We strongly condemn this behavior. They have to be disciplined and their acts discriminated against. They have to be given a lesson,” he said.

He also said, “Homosexuality is an unnatural act and we call on international bodies to repent from their sponsorship of legalizing what is a wrong and harmful as well as requesting foreign body to refrain from attempting to subvert the sacred traditions of the Ethiopian people by threats and political pressure.”

In any case, rest in peace, our patriarch!

About Rainbow Ethiopia

Rainbow Ethiopia is the pen name of one of a group of Ethiopian LGBTI activists. For more information, see the Rainbow Ethiopia website.
This entry was posted in Africa (Sub Saharan) and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Who will replace Ethiopian Church’s anti-gay patriarch?

  1. Pingback: Ethiopia protest against human rights crackdown | 76 CRIMES

  2. yesunesh says:

    God himself resist you He will die, if Patriarich die, & God is againt you.
    you gays stop destroy our land you dirty turn to your creator, why want to be under animals?

    Like this

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